Manitoba’s cattle auctions off to a slow start in 2019

WINNIPEG – Only four of Manitoba’s eight major cattle auctions had sales last week. With sales numbers down compared to those before the holiday break.

For the week ending Jan. 11, auctions at Brandon, Grunthal, Virden and Winnipeg sold a total of 1,164 cattle, with weather having played a role in the lower numbers.

“We ran into some kind of stormy days on our receiving days, so our numbers were very small,” said Robin Hill of Heartland Livestock Services’ Virden auction, which was held on Jan. 9 and sold 409 head.

He said bids for butcher cattle were up C$2 to C$3 per hundredweight (cwt) and feeders were up generally by a few cents.

Virden’s auction report listed feeder steers in the 400 to 500 pound range sold for C$215 to C$237 cwt on the high end, while feeder steers in the 900 to 1,000 pound range went for C$178 to C$187 cwt on the low end. Similar numbers were reported at Heartland’s Brandon Auction and at Winnipeg Livestock Sales. Grunthal Livestock Auction Mart did not provide sales figures for feeders.

Hill is expecting business at the province’s cattle auctions will pick up over the next two months, but he expressed concern over the recent rise of the Canadian dollar as the country’s cattle industry is dependent on exports.

“A lower dollar here last week definitely helped the feeder cattle and the butchers. (The dollar) is strengthening this week. It’s not to going to be helping us. That’s going to be a big factor in the cattle industry.”

The other four auctions will join the others in the weekly fray, with Killarney on Jan. 14, followed by Gladstone on Jan. 15, Ashern on Jan. 16 and at Ste. Rose du Lac on Jan. 17.

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